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Questions about Moving to and Teaching English in Harbin, China


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Hello! 你好!


I will be moving to Harbin, China soon to teach English for 4 to 11-year-olds. What things should I know about moving to Harbin and what is great about the city? What are some great places to eat there? I'm not sure what part of the city I'll be living in. I know that in America it would be considered a pretty massive city since it has a population of around 3 and a half million.


What I've found so far (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any of these) is that for one, it is extremely cold. What would be the best strategy for buying warm clothing? I bought a pretty intense parka to use while I'm there, because from what I understand it averages 5 F as a high during January. I plan on buying just the parka and boots in the US and then buying the rest of my heated clothing like thermal pants and whatnot when I'm there since it will be much cheaper. 


I also heard about the ice festivals they have in January and February. I'm incredibly fascinated by these, as I've seen pictures and it is absolutely gorgeous. Does anyone have any recommendations on what the festival is like, how much tickets are (if that's how it works) and what to do when you're there?


Are there often power outages or heating problems in the apartment complexes there? I'm not sure how nice my apartment will be since my company is paying for it or if it's worth it to move to a nice area and pay the difference.


And one final thing (this isn't particularly important to me) what are pets like in China, specifically Harbin? I was thinking about getting a bearded dragon while there, but I'm not sure how that all works over there and what it will be like to bring it home. I know customs will be a pain. Like I said, this isn't really important because if it's too much hassle I may not even do it.


I greatly appreciate any help you can give me!

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I worked for a while in Shenyang - so not so far north, but still with seriously cold winters. I visited Harbin and thought it was an interesting place because of all the history of the Russians (and others) being there, and I thought the range of food there reflected that very mixed history. The plan for clothes shopping sounds good. For the apartment, why not start off with what's arranged for you and wait until you start to get to know the place - and people - before thinking about maybe somewhere you like better. What they provide might turn out good enough.

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If you're a guy and have feet bigger than say US size 9, then finding boots or shoes of any type will be very difficult. So when it comes to footwear, bring what you'll need for your whole time there.


Likewise, socks are usually poor quality in China, so especially for those boots, bring what sox you'll need with you as well.

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